Sunday, 16 June 2024

Recovery center faces challenges due to state budget, economic downturn

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Hilltop Recovery, located above Middletown, is facing budget concerns due to the economic climate and the state's fiscal emergency. Courtesy photo.

 

 

ANDERSON SPRINGS – Things are tough all over, and people struggling with addiction are seeing a steady decline in services during a time when the services are paramount.


At the same time, economic hardships often contribute to escalating numbers of substance abuse and alcohol related problems in society.


Lori Carter-Runyon, executive director of Hilltop Recovery Services, said she was shocked when she received the call that the Ford Street treatment program in Ukiah was closing.


“They have been in business for so long and are providing such a needed service, I would have never imagined that they were being hit so hard from the budget crisis,” she said.


She and husband Ryan Runyon, who run the men’s inpatient recovery program, were asked by Centerpoint Inc., the agency they are contracted through, how many of the men from Ford Street they could take in at the Lake County facility.


Hilltop, located off of Socrates Mine Road, had eight beds available. The Runyons knew they might not get paid for months with the uncertainty of state IOUs looming.


The men from Ford Street needed to be somewhere, though. Options included homelessness and, for some, prison if they couldn’t be placed.


“It is my understanding that Centerpoint was able to place everyone – some went to the Bay Area- others to Humboldt County and some went home,” Carter-Runyon said.


She said that as the news spread about Ford Street, Hilltop residents asked if this was going to happen at the Lake County facility, and even staff wanted to know if they were in jeopardy of soon joining the ranks of the unemployed.


“I’ve done my best to assure them that we were OK for the time being – but I am definitely nervous,” said Carter-Runyon. “We are such a young program, being in business for only two years, and now we are the only local men’s residential treatment facility.”


She’s highly attuned with the state budget because it directly impacts the ability to continue operations. The agency they are contracted through for state referrals notified them some time ago that they may not be getting paid on schedule. Hilltop’s contractor lost six providers and another 13 through the state.


“They let us know that if the state was not paying them, they would not be able to pay us,” Carter-Runyon said. “As soon as I received this information I began tightening the reins on spending and prepared for the worst. I had our credit increased on the company credit card, and have gone to our bank to ask for a line of credit.”


At the present time they have enough funds on hand to make it through March, and with the bank loan could make it through April, but the bank denied the loan based on the state budget issues. They have a contract that is not state funded and a few private pay clients that provide some money. The program is primarily dependent on contracts funded through the state.


“It’s a relief that the budget was passed, but no money is being released yet. If we don’t see change, we’ll have to close our doors April 15,” Carter-Runyon said.


She added, “I’m doing my best to budget everything, and pay the minimum amounts so Hilltop can survive. We are going to need help.”


Clucky Plucky Poultry of Kelseyville donated 480 pounds of chicken, helping to feed the residents of Hilltop Recovery. Worldmark Wyndham Resorts donated patio furniture last spring and continue to donate bedding. Many community members donated much-needed men’s clothing.


Treatment saves money. The cost of incarceration compared to treatment puts the burden of millions more dollars on the taxpayers backs.


“The community support is extremely needed. It may be the thing that keeps us above water – with clothing, shoes, linens and foods donated, I can focus on the paying my employees, the utilities and keeping the residents fed until the funds are released,” Carter-Runyon said.


For more information on Hilltop Recovery and how to help, call 987-9972 or visit the center's Web site at www.hilltoprecovery.com.


E-mail Mandy Feder at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

 

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The recovery center is located in a rural setting in the south county. Courtesy photo.
 

 


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